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Trust introduces new electronic prescribing system
Wednesday 05 December 2012
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has become the first in the South West to introduce an electronic system for prescribing and recording the administration of inpatients’ medications.
The Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) project will be launched on the children’s wards at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in December before a roll out programme across all three of the Trust’s sites.
Pharmacist Ian Nicholls, who is leading the project, said: “The introduction of e-prescribing will take the Trust one step closer to having full electronic records. It’s a very efficient way of doing things and will provide a safe and accurate way to prescribe medicines. Patient safety is the most important aspect and this system will allow for greater accountability. It could also help to speed up discharge prescriptions, meaning patients will be able to leave promptly when discharged as well as reducing missed doses of medications.”
The current system involves a paper drug chart for each patient. With EPMA, charts will be available on computer with doctors able to log in from any computer in the Trust to prescribe and review medications. Small mobile devices will also be provided to wards.
Maia O’Neill, Electronic Prescribing Nurse Facilitator, said: “Patient safety is the most important factor and by having the prescription log for each patient on computer, staff can be sure that what they are seeing is the most accurate up-to-date information available as the system is in real time. The system also reports who has prescribed, what they prescribed, and when it was given, thereby reducing the chances of someone missing a dose. This is obviously good news for patients but it also means staff can feel confident in what they are giving. And of course, there will be no more illegible and unsigned prescriptions!”
The Paediatric wards at the Royal Cornwall Hospital will be the first to get to grips with the system before it is launched at St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle and then West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance. The project will then be fully implemented across all wards at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
Full training will be provided by the EPMA Project team supported by the Trust’s IT trainers prior to wards being switched to the system. Maia said: “We will be talking to staff in each area to find out what their specific needs are with the aim of tailoring the programme for individual departments. We will also be looking for people during these sessions who are willing to have extra training in order for them to be super users able to help others, although ongoing support from the EPMA team will be available.”
Regular reviews will be carried out throughout the process to address any issues. Ian said: “As with any new system there will be things we need to learn as we go along. With constant assessments of the programme we will be able to identify any difficulties and make sure they are resolved before it arrives in a new department. Similarly any positives will be integrated into further roll outs.”
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